Le Monde – Until recently, Elon Musk was seen as the modern-day Tony Stark, the brilliant and irreverent entrepreneur behind the Iron Man armor in the Marvel universe. Now he is most often compared to the Joker, the great emancipator of Gotham City’s sociopaths. Since he purchased Twitter on October 27 to defend “the future of civilization,” the Tesla and SpaceX chief has established himself primarily as the savior of anti-establishment, conspiratorial and radical discourse.

In the name of defending absolute freedom of speech, Musk has been relentless in mocking Trump supporters who see him as a gift from heaven. He lifted Donald Trump’s suspension and appeared alongside Jared Kushner, the former president’s son-in-law, at the World Cup final in Doha. But Donald Trump isn’t the only one who’s back on the social media site following Twitter’s new policy.

After allowing many far-right figures to return, in mid-December Mr Musk reactivated the Twitter accounts of prominent French conspiracy influencers such as Alsatian businessman and Hollow Moon theorist Silvano Trotta. “Now Twitter is finally free,” he said proudly shortly after. “It’s the day of resurrection”, celebrated Eric Chabrière, right-hand man of the controversial professor Didier Raoult, who vehemently defended hydroxychloroquine as a cure for Covid on the platform during the pandemic.

Explosion of conspiracy tweets

It didn’t take long to see the consequences of Mr. Musk’s actions. While some users went into exile on the Mastodon social network, conspiracy theories on Twitter grew spectacularly, from the supposed dangers of Covid vaccines to the assassination of JFK. Ably helped by the dismantling of the platform’s moderation teams, which have been decimated since Mr. Musk’s arrival, such theories, and those who spread them, no longer face any accountability.

In France, the conspiratorial media outlet created in 2020, Les DéQodeurs, which believed that Trump would miraculously remain in the White House, congratulated itself on having doubled its audience since mid-November, with 3.5 million Tweets visible to users . “Actually, we never left, because we barely published anything, until Elon Musk arrived,” said the conspiracy theorists on their Twitter account. “We realized we could come back and have since started actively using our account.”

In addition to reopening the door to those previously banned from Twitter, Musk has spoken publicly to some of them. One of them is Kim DotCom, the German-Finnish businessman behind the now-defunct file-sharing platform MegaUpload and who is now involved in a paranoid crusade against the “deep state”, a hidden entity that supposedly rules Western countries without their knowledge. .

Musk frequently pays attention to the fanciful theories directed at him on the platform. “Interesting,” he often responds, cryptically. On December 19, in a surprisingly candid conversation, AnOmaly, an American rapper known for anti-Semitism, told Musk that the American media is run by “people […] who hate America and Americans.” Afterwards, the controversial artist mentioned people with Jewish names, without the Tesla boss hesitating.

A businessman who took the ‘red pill’

The current head of Twitter doesn’t just listen to conspiracy theorists; he speaks their language. On December 13, he invited his 122 million subscribers to “follow the white rabbit,” a popular metaphor in conspiracy circles describing entry into an alternate world in reference to Alice in Wonderland . As early as May 2020, he recommended “taking the red pill”, referring to the film Matrix which has become synonymous with awakening to an unspeakable truth and a rallying point for Donald Trump and QAnon conspiracies.

Musk himself shares controversial rhetoric. “My pronouns are Sue/Fauci,” he wrote on December 12 in a tweet mocking statements popular among LGBT+ advocates and Anthony Fauci, the White House medical adviser who conspiracy theorists accuse of hiding his responsibility for the outbreak. of the coronavirus. or even encouraging its creation.

The fanciful businessman also deals with the facts when they concern him: claiming an invasion of privacy, he justified the suspension of the account that accompanied his jet, although the flight data transmitted was already public. He also momentarily blocked American press journalists, whom he accused of having tweeted his location in real time, which allowed a driver to find his son during a car ride in Los Angeles. Although the claim was disputed by a Washington Post investigation, the claim was widely shared by Musk’s many supporters.

The South African businessman also feeds alternative spheres by organizing and publishing things like the “Twitter Files”, a series of behind-the-scenes revelations on the social network. Serialized publications are obsessed with Trumpist conspiracy theorists: the pitfalls of Twitter moderation during the 2020 US elections, the suspension of Trump’s account after the attack on the Capitol, the concealment of an affair involving Hunter Biden, the son of the Democratic president , and the platform’s interactions with US intelligence services.

Between exultation and astonishment

Conspiracy theorists on Twitter can’t hide their joy. Those whose accounts or posts were deleted by the former administration are relishing the reversal of the balance of power. In the era of Musk, it is now left-wing media workers and anti-fascist accounts, often described as “terrorists,” who are blocked overnight.

However, this fascination of admiration for Twitter’s new owner is subject to some limitations. Some, a minority, are bothered by the fact that the defender of freedom of expression is capable of contradicting himself by banning accounts in such an arbitrary way as the previous administration.

Unless, as some want to believe, it really is a chess move too brilliant to understand. Like the surprising online poll launched by Elon Musk on December 20 about his future as head of the platform, which subsequently led him to announce his future retirement as CEO of Twitter. More creative conspiracy theorists, like Kim DotCom, see it as a devious strategy to identify “deep state” bots and better neutralize them. “Interesting”, replied Elon Musk once again.

Source: https://www.ocafezinho.com/2024/04/07/elon-musk-o-salvador-dos-teoricos-da-conspiracao-do-twitter/

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